Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review January 16, 2009 / 20 Teves 5769

Cynicism is downright unpatriotic

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Tears all dry now, I'm worried about the pending deaths of Cynicism and Snark. In fact, I've just returned from my first meeting of CASA — Cynics and Snarks Anonymous. It was crowded.


And boring.


But such will be life during the next four to eight years. With the election of Barack Obama, Cynicism and Snark are officially passe.


Translation: Humor and irreverence are out; earnestness and sincerity are in.


David Denby, The New Yorker film critic, has written a book decrying our old bad habits: "Snark: It's Mean, It's Personal, and It's Ruining Our Conversation." I couldn't agree more. Snark is cheap and bad for you. But then, so are hot dogs. I still want one now and then.


Cynicism isn't just unfashionable; it's downright unpatriotic.


Heretical. With the planet melting (when it isn't freezing), two wars and a tanking economy, we need spirited optimism, not defeatist cynicism.


Under the Obama Order of Hope and Change, the new patriotism is helpfulness. The new anthem is: "Howdy Neighbor!" Soon we'll be like Thailand's highway police, wearing smiley-face masks to help reduce stress.


As the Thai commander said: "When we're tired, it's hard to keep smiling."


As of Monday, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday will be put to its intended use as a National Day of Service. (Congress designated it as such in 1994, but it didn't quite take off.) In a special video delivered to e-mail boxes recently, rising first lady Michelle Obama earnestly implores Americans to volunteer "with a spirit of unity and shared commitment."


The outgoing president asked us to shop; this one wants us to give it up. Gai ge kai fang! as the Chinese put it. Reform and open the door! Not that I'm making any comparisons.


The incoming first lady reminds us that King lived his life in service to others and we should, too. And we should! Earnestly! Still, National Service Day has that Homeland Security feel to it. Will we soon be wearing armbands that say: "I volunteered"?


I've got a stash of virtue labels: I voted. I gave blood. Most Americans seem to own a wristband or two indicating solidarity with some victim group. Here's an idea: Why not wear a wedding band that says, "I married the parent of my child"? By helping the largest victim group in the country — our marginalized kids — we might not need so many third-party do-gooders.


Meanwhile, the Obamas plan to spend Monday volunteering in their new community. What about you? Not sure where to go? No worries. At USAService.org, the Renew America Together Web site, you can type in your ZIP code and find (or host) an event nearby.


Eager to be a Good American, I typed in my code and found a plethora of opportunities — from Social Action Boot Camp to litter cleanup, to keeping vigil at the Chinese Embassy "to protest the killing, rape, torture, and displacement of civilians in the Darfur region of Sudan." Fun!


If you're beginning to itch around the collar, this is a perfectly normal reaction for those accustomed to voluntary volunteerism. Even the snark-averse might pause at "Oath of All of US," another volunteer event in which people of all ages and from all walks of life, LED BY YOUTH (their emphasis, not mine), will gather to share their pledges for social good with a personal Oath of Office.


Videos of these individual declarations of public virtue will be uploaded to the Web as part of a national campaign.


Remember last February when Michelle Obama promised during a UCLA speech that her husband would "require" us to work? That he was going to "demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zone.


That you push yourself to be better. And that you engage"?


"Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed," averred America's aspiring first lady.


Apparently, she wasn't just whistling Chicago. It's all volunteer.


Until it isn't. When you dare not volunteer lest you be viewed as unpatriotic — not with us, not committed to unity — it's not so voluntary for very long.


If you find yourself in isolation, without a comfort zone, drop by CASA where I'll be volunteering. We have stickers, too: Let's Not Hug.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.

Kathleen Parker Archives

© 2008, WPWG

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles